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Cycle New Zealand: Otago Rail Trail

4 days with Intrepid Travel   Rating: Budget

Itinerary
Click for Dates and Prices Day 1 Queenstown and Otago Rail Trail
Kia-ora! Welcome to Queenstown, New Zealand. This cycling trip kicks off with a pick-up at 10 am. After the meeting you’ll jump in a private vehicle to nearby Clyde (approximately 1 hour), where you’ll be fitted with your bike to start your cycling adventure along the Otago Rail Trail, which has been voted NZ's ‘Favourite Ride’ for the past two years. The trail runs for 152 kilometres in total and was originally used to transport supplies to and from the Gold Fields, then later to transport goods and livestock. It fell into disrepair but was refurbished into a rail trail at the start of the new millennium and is now arguably the best way to explore the area and contribute to the local economy. You'll begin by cycling past vineyards, over an old wooden trestle bridge and along the Clutha River Track for around 13 kilometres before arriving in Alexandra via the historic bridge. Take a short rest in this delightful gold rush-era town, then cycle toward Galloway Station and though Chatto Creek, up Tiger Hill then cruise downhill to your overnight accommodation in Omakau/ Ophir. Perhaps join the locals for dinner at the renowned Commercial Hotel before settling in for a well-earned sleep.

Day 2 Otago Rail Trail - Omakau to Wedderburn
The highlight of today's cycle is the beautiful Poolburn Gorge section of the trail, which features two tunnels and two viaducts. You'll then ride through the Ida Valley farmlands, pedalling past Idaburn Dam, one of New Zealand's few outdoor curling sites, and visiting the Hayes Historic Engineering Works before stopping at Oturehua Tavern for lunch. After lunch you'll continue north to the Golden Progress Mine and up to the highest point of trail before stopping for the night at Wedderburn. You may wish to take an optional trip to Naseby so you can try your hand at curling and take a look around the old gold mining town. In the evening, perhaps enjoy a traditional, farm-style meal at the Weddernburn Tavern and rest those legs.

Day 3 Otago Rail Trail - Wedderburn to Hyde
Another good day today – 43 kilometres in total – though it's mostly downhill from Weddernburn to Ranfurly, Otago's Art Deco capital. Enjoy morning tea here, then cross the Manioto Plains towards the Waipiata Tavern for lunch. This is Lord of the Rings territory, and the flat plains give way to snow-capped mountains on the horizon. Continue after lunch and pedal alongside the Taieri River, the fourth longest in New Zealand and one of today's highlights. Cross the historic Capburn Bridge and Price's Creek Viaduct on your way to Hyde.

Day 4 Otago Rail Trail - Hyde to Middlemarch/Queenstown
Today you'll cycle approximately 30 kilometres with stunning views of the Rock and Pillar Ranges. It's slightly downhill, and you'll stop at the Hyde Railway Disaster Memorial, which commemorates the fatal 1943 derailment of a passenger train. Enjoy a morning snack en route before arriving into Middlemarch and the end of the cycling part of your adventure. Take a while to grab lunch at one of the local eateries or load up at Maggies Ice Cream shop before transferring by vehicle (approx. 3 hrs) back to Queenstown, where your trip finishes on arrival.
Map
All This Included
It’s almost like New Zealand was made for cycling. This is a land known for its natural beauty, welcoming people and delicious wine, and this cycling trip just happens to take in the best of it. Kick things off in the outdoor paradise of Queenstown, then cycle the famous Central Otago Rail Trail through small gold-mining towns like Alexandra, Omakau, Wedderburn and Hyde. Meander through the open plains with pristine rivers, enjoy some proper South Island hospitality at local taverns, and rediscover the joy of pedalling through one of the most gorgeous areas in the entire country.
  • Meals - 3 breakfasts
  • Transport - Bicycle, minivan (e-bike available, subject to availability)
  • Guided bike ride - Otago Rail Trail
  • 3 days Bicycle Hire
  • Transfer to Queenstown
Highlights
  • Cycle the spectacular Otago Central Rail Trail, the oldest rail trail in the country and voted 'New Zealand's Favourite Ride' for the past two years.
  • Ring along flat, traffic-free paths alongside some of the South Island's most stunning scenery.
  • Begin your journey in Queenstown, an outdoor paradise set among the stunning Southern Alps of New Zealand.
  • Experience firsthand the famous hospitality of New Zealanders on a trail built specifically to cater for cyclists.
Accommodations
Hotel/Guesthouse (3 nights)
Notes
  • Ages: Min 15
  • Group size: Min 4, Max 12
  • This a new trip for 2020. While we have thoroughly researched every detail of the itinerary, and are working with a local supplier with many years experience riding this exact route, we sometimes find it's necessary to make small changes after the first few trips have run. Changes are always based on feedback from past travellers and our ground staff. For Cycling trips these changes are usually around finding even better roads to ride on, which can alter the distance/time we spend riding on a day to day basis, but can sometimes even extend to accommodation or included activities if needed.
  • Accommodation on the Otago Rail Trail can be booked out months in advance so there may be occasions where we stay in nearby locations to those advertised. Your leader will inform you at the initial group meeting is this is the case on your departure.
  • Unlike most Intrepid Cycling trips this itinerary does not have a full time support vehicle constantly following the group. As well as the short cycling distances making it unnecessary, no vehicles are allowed to drive along the rail trail itself. Your luggage is always transported for you (by vehicle) between accommodations.
  • Due to the relatively small distances cycled on this trip we have a single leader that rides with the group. There may be times when the leader asks one of the group to act as a back marker.
  • Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information.
Terms and Conditions
For Intrepid Travel terms and conditions, please click here.

* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.